The Supreme Court of Ohio heard arguments today in the case of a juvenile who was sentenced to 112 years in prison on convictions for rape, robbery and kidnapping in 2002. Brandon Moore was 15 years old at the time he committed the crimes. The U.S. Supreme Court subsequently decided the case of Graham v. Florida in 2010, holding that a court must not sentence a juvenile to life in prison for a non-homicide offense, and that a juvenile sentence must hold "a meaningful opportunity for release." After that decision was handed down, Moore attempted to appeal his sentence, but was unsuccessful. He argues today that while the ruling in Graham specifically applied to a life sentence without the possibility of parole, his combined sentences serve as a de facto life sentence, as he will not be eligible to leave prison until he is 107. He asserts that this de facto life sentence violates the 8th Amendment, and that it is unconstitutional under Graham.
The State of Ohio argues Graham only applies to cases where the sentence is specifically for life without parole, and that Moore's aggregate sentences do not meet this criteria. The state also disputes Moore's calculation of when he would be eligible for release, asserting that he could actually be paroled at 92. The state argues that Graham should not be read to apply to sentences like Moore's because it would require the courts to speculate on a case-by-case basis when combined sentences could make parole impossible during the juvenile's lifetime.
Photo credit: my_southborough, via flickr.